London - World rally championship runner-up Hyundai has parted company with team principal Michel Nandan and appointed Andrea Adamo in his place after missing out on both titles last season.

Hyundai said on Wednesday that Adamo, an Italian, had taken over with immediate effect.

Monaco-born Nandan had been at the helm for six years, with the team finishing runner-up in the manufacturers' championship on three occasions.

Hyundai led both championships last year only to lose out in the end, with M-Sport Ford's Sebastien Ogier pipping Hyundai's Belgian Thierry Neuville by 18 points. Toyota won the manufacturers' crown. 

"With a proven record as Customer Racing Manager, Adamo will take on the new role of Team Director, heading up Hyundai Motorsport’s WRC activities with immediate effect, in addition to his existing duties with the i20 R5 and i30 N TCR programs," Hyundai said.

Yet the biggest weapon in Hyundai's 2019 arsenal is its newly appointed driver Sebastian Loeb, who recently signed a two-year contract to race six stages of next year's World Rally Championship.

Loeb is WRC's most successful driver, with nine world championships to his name, and he joins Hyundai after driving part-time for Team Peugeot last season, when he stunned the field at the Rally of Catalunya to win his first race since 2013.

The Frenchman, 44, retired from full-time championship racing in 2012 after he won his final title.

His long-standing co-pilot Daniel Elena has also signed for the South Korean team.

Spanish pair Dani Sordo and Carlos del Barrio will drive the remaining eight out of 14 legs of the WRC for Hyundai.

Reuters & Agence France-Presse